Dr.Tarek Said's Homepage - Egyptian Nobel Prize Winners  

Egyptian Nobel Prize Winners

Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
Peace, 1978
Naguib Mahfouz
Literature, 1988
Ahmed Zewail
Chemistry , 1999

President/ Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, Nobel Prize for Peace, 1978
 
 
"For contribution to the two frame agreements on peace in the Middle East, and on peace between Egypt and Israel, which were signed at Camp David on September 17, 1978."
 
Born: 25th December 1918 in  Tala District, Menufia Governorate, Egypt.
Education: Military College 
Editor Al Jumhuriya and Al Tahrir 1955-56
Minister of State 1955-56
Vice-Chairman National Assembly 1957-60
Chairman National Assembly 1960-68
General Secretary Egyptian National Union 1957-61
Chairman Afro-Asian Solidarity Council 1961
Member Presidential Council 1962-1964
Vice-president of Egypt 1964-66, 1969-70 
President of Egypt 1970-1981 
Prime Minister 1973-74
Chairman Arab Socialist Union 1970 
Member Higher Council on Nuclear Energy 1975



Naguib Mahfouz , Nobel Prize for Literature , 1988
 
 
"who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art tthat applies to all mankind"
 

Born in Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and ten more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. One novel was republished in 1953, however, and the appearance of the Cairo Triology, Bayn al Qasrayn, Qasr al Shawq, Sukkariya (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse) in 1957 made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life. With The Children of Gebelawi (1959), he began writing again, in a new vein that frequently concealed political judgements under allegory and symbolism. Works of this second period include the novels, The Thief and the Dogs (1961), Autumn Quail (1962), Small Talk on the Nile (1966), and Miramar (1967), as well as several collections of short stories. 
Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. The years since his retirement from the Egyptian bureaucracy have seen an outburst of further creativity, much of it experimental. He is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. In Egypt, each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf.
 
Naguib Mahfouz, the 1988 Nobelist, is one of the foremost writers in modern Arabic literature. He is regarded as the leading Arabic novelist, and one of the few of world stature. 
Mahfouz's writings clearly reflect the deep concern of the Egyptian petite bourgeoisie with its material security, its worry about the narrow, its conformity to the system, and its disinclination to challenge the authorities or the power that be.
The sole preoccupation of this class was security. 
Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911 in Gamaliyya, an old quarter of Cairo, which was the setting for several of his novels. 
With dozens of novels to his name, collections of short stories, fully-fledged studies of his work in book form, an increasing number of doctoral theses, and an enormous number of articles in literary and academic periodicals (in English and other languages), Naguib Mahfouz can rightfully claim the title of the best-known and most studious Arab novelist in the Anglophone world. 
This is hardly surprising, as Mahfouz enjoys a similar status in his own language, in which he has been, by far, one of the most popular serious novelist, all his novels having seen several reprints in different editions. 
He published his first novel in 1939 and since that date has written 32 novels and 13 collections of short stories. In his old age, he has maintained his prolific output, producing a novel every year. 
During the 1960s, he wrote a great deal: novels, short stories, and plays. Much of the inspiration for this outburst of creativity was certainly by the wide success of his monumental three-part novel, Al Thulathiyya (The Trilogy, 1956-57). 
In awarding the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature to Naguib Mahfouz, the Swedish Academy of Letters noted that "through works rich in nuance - now clearsightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - (Mahfouz) has formed an Arabic narrative art that applies to all mankind." 

Published works translated into English. 
Palace Walk (Book 1 of the Cairo Trilogy) (originally published in Arabic 1956) 
Palace of Desire (Book 2 of the Cairo Trilogy)(originally published in Arabic 1957)
Sugar Street (Book 3 of the Cairo Trilogy) (originally published in Arabic 1957) 
Children of Gebelawi (originally published in Arabic 1959) 
The Beginning and the End (originally published in Arabic 1956) 
Adrift on the Nile (originally published in Arabic 1966 
The Journey of Ibn Fattouma (originally published in Arabic 1983) 
Midaq Alley (originally published in Arabic 1947) 
The Harafish (originally published in Arabic 1977) 
The Beggar (originally published in Arabic 1965) 
The Thief and the Dogs (originally published in Arabic 1961) 
Autumn Quail (originally published in Arabic 1962) 
Wedding Song (originally published in Arabic 1981) 
The Search (originally published in Arabic 1964) 
Fountain and Tomb (originally published in Arabic 1975) 
Miramar (originally published in Arabic 1967)



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Ahmed Zewail  , Nobel Prize for Chemistry , 1999
 
 
"For his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy
 
Egyptian-American scientist Ahmed H. Zewail won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for showing that a rapid laser technique can observe the motion of atoms in a molecule during a chemical reaction. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Zewail was being honored for a revolution in chemistry through "his pioneering investigation of fundamental chemical reactions, using ultra- short laser flashes, on the time-scale on which the reactions actually occur." The academy said Zewail's work in the late 1980s led to the birth of femtochemistry, the use of high-speed cameras to monitor chemical reactions at a scale of femtoseconds, or 0.000000000000001 of a  second. 
 'No chemical reactions take place faster'
 "We have reached the end of the road. No chemical reactions take place faster than this," the academy said.  "We can now see the movements of individual atoms as we imagine them. They are no longer invisible," the academy said. 
Zewail's technique, using what could be described as the world's fastest camera, works much same way that slow-motion action replays enable viewers to watch a football match in detail.
Applications of this technique include the design of molecular electronic components, the study of the most delicate mechanisms in life processes and the production of the medicines of the future, the academy said. 
A U.S. and Egyptian citizen, Zewail has held the Linus Pauling chair of chemical physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena since 1990. 
 
Ahmed Zewail currently is the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and
Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, and Director of
the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS). 

Degrees
B.S. and M.S. degrees from Alexandria University, Alexandria , Egypt
Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. 

After the completion of his Ph.D., he went to the University of California, Berkeley, as an IBM research fellow.
Zewail was appointed to the faculty at Caltech in 1976. In two years he was tenured, in 1982 became a full professor, and in 1990 was honored by the first Linus Pauling Chair at Caltech.

Zewail holds honorary degrees from:
American University (Cairo)
Oxford University (UK)
Katholieke University (Leuven, Belgium)
University of Pennsylvania (USA)
Universite de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Swinburne University (Australia). 

He gave more than one hundred named and plenary lectures, and he has been named the:
John van Geuns Stichting Professor at University of Amsterdam
Rolf Sammet Professor at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University
Christensen Professorial Fellow at Oxford, 
Röntgen Professor at the University of Würzburg. 

He served as Visiting Professor at the:
University of Bordeaux 
Ecole Normale Superieure
University of California, Los Angeles 
American University, Cairo
American University, Texas A&M
University of Iowa
College de France
Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium.

For his contributions he has been widely recognized with honors which include:
Robert A. Welch Prize Award
Wolf Prize, 
King Faisal Prize
Benjamin Franklin Medal
Leonardo Da VinciAward of Excellence
Röntgen Prize, 
Paul Karrer Gold Medal
Bonner Chemiepreis
Medal of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Carl Zeiss Award, 
Hoechst Award
Alexander von Humboldt Award. 

From the American Physical Society, he was awarded : 
Herbert P. Broida Prize
Earle K. Plyler Prize, 

From the American Chemical Society :
Richard C. Tolman Medal Award
Nichols, Medal
Linus Pauling Medal
E. Bright Wilson Award
Peter Debye Award
Nobel Laureate Signature Award
Harrison-Howe Award, 
Buck-Whitney Medal. 

From the National Academy of Sciences:
Chemical Sciences Award, 

From Yale University :
J. G. Kirkwood Award

From the US Government:
E. O. Lawrence Award.

He was 
Alfred P. Sloan fellow
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar
John Simon Guggenheim fellow. 

In Egypt
In 1995 he received the Order of Merit, first class, from President Mubarak 
In 1998 a Postage Stamp, with Portrait, was issued by Egypt.

Member of:
The National Academy of Sciences (USA), 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 
American Philosophical Society, 
Third World Academy of Science (Italy), 
European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (France)
Board of Laser institute , Cairo University , Egypt

Fellow of:
The American Physical Society 
Sigma Xi Society.

 
Born February 26, 1946, he has a family of four children and is married to Dema Zewail, a physician in public health (UCLA). His scientific family over the past 20 years consists of some 150 post-doctoral research fellows, graduate students and visiting associates. He lives in San Marino, California. 

Zewail's current research is devoted to developments of ultrafast lasers and electrons for studies of dynamics in chemistry and biology. In the field of femtochemistry, developed by the Caltech group, the focus is on the fundamental, femtosecond (10-15 second) processes in chemistry and in related fields of physics and biology.


Full Nobel Prize Laureates